Jill Quindiagan: 2013 Santa Clara County Bicycle Commuter of the Year

2013 Santa Clara County BCOY Jill Quindiagan

Jill Quindiagan was not a frequent bike rider until she partook in a century ride in 2011. She completed the ride, despite the fact that she had only “trained” by joining a few monthly social rides. She realized that if she could ride 100 miles on her bike, she had the confidence to ride wherever she wanted or needed to around Silicon Valley. She was further inspired to embrace the bicycle for everyday use when she found blogs such as Cycle Chic, which showed her that she could enjoy riding and still wear her normal clothes. As a result, Jill is known for often wearing a skirt and heels while commuting by bike. As a coworker of hers puts it, “Jill Quindiagan is proof that being an everyday bicycle commuter isn't limited to spandex-clad men riding exotic machinery.”

This casual approach to bicycle commuting has positioned Jill as a role model for her coworkers and friends. They take inspiration from her and turn to her for advice. Meanwhile, she works to create more opportunities for people to get familiar with the fun of riding a bike. She volunteers with San José Bike Party, putting her art background to work on multiple ride posters. Jill has also organizes other casual weekend rides with her friends and office mates, several of who have purchased bikes and taken up riding as well. She even organized a “Dapper Bike Ride to Tea” party to celebrate her boyfriend's birthday. Organizing fun rides is a valuable way that Jill helps instill her friends, family, and coworkers with confidence on a bike. She says, “Riding to convenient spots for food, the park, and on small errands that may just be a few streets away from home or work, and doing it often, is a good start.”

Of course, Jill still loves getting around by bike without a special event or themed ride. Every day gives her a reason to celebrate life by bike. “Unlike driving,” she says, “I get to hop on the Guadalupe River Trail or the Los Gatos Creek Trail and enjoy viewing the wildlife.” Jill is a blogger and iPhone photographer, and traveling by bike gives her a chance to snap interesting pics of things she would have even noticed by car.

A friend of Jill’s may have summed her up best when writing, “Jill breaks the stereotypes associated with bicycle commuting. She is a role model for myself and other riders of how one can be an active cyclist every day, and make it look really cool.”

Congratulations, Jill! And thank you for helping to inspire everyone you meet to embrace the bicycle for everyday use!

Honorable Mentions

There were so many wonderful candidates for this year's BCOY, we had to share some of their stories. Please join us in congratulating this impressive crowd of inspirational bike riders:

Chuen Chou
Chuen is car free, and one of Tesla's best bike commuters. The only reason he ever drives is as part of his job building electric vehicles! He also built, by hand, the bike he rides down to the home-brew headlight. Chuen’s dedication to bicycling is an inspiration to his coworkers.

Chad Conway
Chad rides his bike everyday, to work as well as on errands. He averages 25 miles a weekday and 150 miles a weekend, encouraging others to get on their bikes as well. As a result, Chad’s girlfriend recently ditched her car in exchange for biking. He has helped a number of people learn to ride or get a bike and recently put a bike together for a toddler, hoping that it will set him up for a biking life. Chad also is cycling to raise money and awareness for Advanced Cancer Research, highlighting childhood cancer patients by wearing bracelets that support cancer fighters every day, especially while riding.

Dzung Dang
Dzung is a great cycling enthusiast who not only rides regularly to work but also joins company lunch rides to help and encourage new cyclists. His coworkers admire Dzung for his sheer enthusiasm and dedication to biking and teaching. They got the biking bug during the Tour De Moffett Park in July 2012. Many did not own bikes at the time so Dzung helped them find new rides. He promoted safety and made sure the team’s bikes were well maintained. Dzung shares bike safety tips with fellow riders. He has twice ridden his bike across Vietnam to help raise money for the Orphanages in his native country. Dzung’s colleagues describe him as a humble person, a committed rider, and a great humanitarian.

Dave Fisch
Dave is a dedicated bike commuter who logs over 8,000 miles annually and promotes safe bike riding. He rides between Pleasanton and Santa Clara daily and started a commuter group to encourage others to join him. His cycling buddies justifiably refer to him as “Cap'n Commuter.”

Tom Kabat
Tom has commuted by bike for 36 years and inspires others to do the same. He exudes bike enthusiasm, and his love of bikes has spread to many of his coworkers at the City of Palo Alto. He has led the Alma Bike Bridge Energizer Station for years, where he helps fellow commuters with quick pit-stop chain lubing, bike adjusting and tire pumping, for an improved ride experience. In addition to volunteering for multiple community bike events and bike touring, Tom enjoys building unique bicycles out of wood, old furniture, lawnmowers, skis, and more. They can be seen at woodenbikes.com. Having been “car lite” for decades, Tom and his wife saved enough money to both retire a few weeks ago at the tender age of 53, and now enjoy daily rides together.

Larry Owens
Larry Owens has been biking 32 miles round trip from his home to work for over 15 years. He is a role model and bicycling ambassador on the Highway 87 Trail, guiding newbies and picking up glass bottles before they can do any damage. On the road, Larry is a great example of safe riding practices. His leadership and model behavior inspire his staff and those he meets while out on his bike.

Tho Pham
Tho put aside his bicycle toward the end of childhood. His love of bicycling was rekindled during his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, where he would ride down red dirt roads to teach math and science in the most remote part of the Gambia. Upon returning, he continued to bike to medical school and currently bikes 20 miles round-trip to work as a Stanford pathology resident. He says commuting by bike is built-in exercise, leaves the smallest carbon footprint, gets the most “MPG,” and it’s fun! Tho rides for all the right reasons and not only epitomizes “Bike to Work Day,” but is the poster child for “Bike Any Day.”

Michele Rowic
Michele is a San Jose librarian and a car-free, dedicated cyclist. She works at two library locations, attends many meetings at libraries throughout San José, and always cycles to work. She manages to get all the way across town with just 30 minutes of travel time, and she never complains or expects recognition. But she is recognized, as she bikes across town in her yellow windbreaker every day through San José.

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